Never touched black money: Prannoy Roy
New Delhi, June 9 (IANS): NDTV founder Prannoy Roy on Friday said the CBI case against him was “ridiculous and a concocted set of facts” and asserted that he and his wife Radhika Roy “never touched black money and never bribed even a single person” in their lives.
He was speaking at a protest meet organised at the Press Club of India which was attended by a number of senior journalists including Kuldip Nayar, S. Nihal Singh, Arun Shourie, H.K. Dua, Shekhar Gupta, Om Thanvi and Raj Chengappa as well as noted constitutional expert Fali S. Nariman.
Roy vowed to fight the charges openly and transparently and called for a time-bound inquiry.
Amid protest by journalists, NDTV had said the CBI had “stepped up the concerted harassment of NDTV and its promoters based on the same old endless false accusations” and the raid was “a blatant political attack on the freedom of the press”.
Roy said journalists should stand up to all pressures.
He also said the petitioner in the case, Sanjay Dutt, was being used as a tool.
Renowned journalist and former Union Minister Arun Shourie urged journalists to boycott ministers in the battle for media freedom.
Calling the CBI raids an attempt by the government to exert “overt pressure” on the media, he said ‘boycott’ of ministers was essential to fight for freedom of the press as it was wrong to assume one could buy peace with the government by publishing ministers’ articles or running their interviews on TV.
He recalled that when the Rajiv Gandhi government brought the defamation bill, journalists decided to ask every minister at press conferences whether they supported the legislation. If the answer was ‘yes’ or supportive of the bill, the reporters would walk out.
Shourie also urged journalists to redouble work that annoys the government. “News is what the government wants to hide. You should excavate that.”
Nariman said that while no one was immune from prosecution for a crime, the justification given by the CBI made him believe that this was an assault on the press and media freedom.
He noted that the FIR was filed by the CBI on the basis of a single complaint and not based on any discovery.
“It should have told the complainant to file a complaint in a criminal court but rather the raids took place….”
Nayar said that the current circumstances and the way media organisations were being attacked reminded him of the “Emergency”.
“We know press is the foundation of democracy. This commitment is now needed that we would never allow the press to be muzzled,” Nayar said.